The ABCs of the F-35

Certainly in the more illustrative range, a few weeks back the Washington Post published a small piece that looked at the F-35. Somehow it has survived budget cuts and become a monstrous $400 billion defence project. Partly that is because it is being built in three different versions for all the main aircraft-flying service branches: the Air Force (A), the Marine Corps (B), and the Navy (C). The Post piece highlights some of the key differences between the  versions.

The F-35A
The F-35A

Credit for the piece goes to Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Alberto Cuadra, and Bill Webster.

Pro Tip #314: Don’t Stare Into the Sun

Don’t stare into the sun. It’ll burn your eyes out, kid. Okay, so maybe that’s a stretch of a reference, but, seriously, don’t. Let the professionals do it with (properly shielded) telescopes and such. This piece from the New York Times looks at a solar flare from 2012 and shows how quickly it developed. The bottom of the piece then shows the reader the frequency of solar minimums and maximums along with some explanatory graphics about just what flares and sunspots are and how they are created.

Also note the centre panel in the top row for the relative size of Earth. Yeah, who’s feeling big now? (Not me.)

Don't stare into it…
Don't stare into it…

Credit for the piece goes to Jonathan Corum.

March Madness

It’s March Madness. And I know not a thing about basketball. But I do know a thing (maybe even two) about infographics and data visualization. I also that Nate Silver pretty much rocks. So when he releases odds for different teams to progress throughout this year’s tournament, you basketball/infographic/data viz-loving folks should pay attention.

The 538 Forecast Bracket
The 538 Forecast Bracket

I of course had to go with Villanova. If only because I have to represent the Main Line. I mean really, it was down to Nova or Temple, which do you think I would pick?

Credit for the piece goes to Nate Silver (definitely for the data, not so sure for the design/interaction/build of the piece).

Infographics in Print

I don’t often get to share printed infographic work because so much of the data visualisations and the narratives I see are seen through the interwebs. And since I cannot live in every city in the world and troll through all their newspaper pages for good infographics, I have to see online/digital versions.

That’s why this work by Hyperakt for the Italian weekly La Lettura is a great find. Hyperakt included a photo of their work in its natural environment, i.e. the printed page. The immediate drawback is that I do not speak Italian and can comprehend very little of the piece. Thankfully, Hyperakt did include a translated version on their page.

Aging Populations
Aging Populations

Credit for the piece goes to Deroy Peraza and Eric Fensterheim.

National Pi Day

Yesterday was National Pi Day. That’s Pi as in 3.14…not as in pie pie. Unless you celebrated Pi Day with pie. In which case, way to go, you. Me, I’m more traditional. I celebrated Pi Day with talk of pie charts. But at the Wonkblog over at the Washington Post, Sarah Kliff posted about several really impressive pie charts.

My favourite was the actual advertising done by the Economist back in Philly a few years ago. Their advert was printed atop a pizza pie box. It’s the double-whammy of Pi Day: pie charts atop a pizza pie.

The image below comes from a different site about the Economist ad campaign, found here, but the link goes to the celebration of pi with pie.

Pizza Pie Pie Chart for Pi Day
Pizza Pie Pie Chart for Pi Day

Thanks to my co-worker Eileen for passing on the tip.

Feltron 2012 Annual Report

Perhaps the most recent winner in the unsurprising post category is Nicholas Felton’s latest Feltron Report, for 2012. As usual, solid work. Below is the spread for beverages, something which I am known to record and report upon from time to time.

A record of drink consumption sounds familiar…
A record of drink consumption sounds familiar…

Credit for the piece goes to Nicholas Felton.

US Trade Balance

The US imports a lot. But it does not export quite as much. The difference between those two figures is what is known as the balance of trade. Quartz looks at the US balance of trade not at an overall level, but between individual countries.

US Balance of Trade
US Balance of Trade

This is not one of my favourite pieces. For starters, while the overall figures are in the accompanying text, it would be useful to include total US imports and exports alongside the graphic as a point of reference.

Secondly, a long-standing issue I have is area comparisons. Sometimes they are needed and useful, a good example is a tree map. But in this piece, the circles do not add up to a recognisable whole. They also do not help when looking at individual countries and their historical trade values. A dotted outline of a circle shows the previous year’s trade. But more often than not, the trade level was so similar that the circles nearly overlap exactly.

The grouping and highlighting functionality hints at a useful application to explore US trade data, but the clumsiness of the circles renders that usefulness moot. .

Credit for the piece goes to David Yanofsky.

Wealth Inequality in the United States

Reality is never what you think. Over at the Washington Post’s Wonkblog I found a post about a YouTube video looking at wealth inequality in the United States. It looks at a study that compared what Americans thought the distribution of wealth in the United States is vs. what they think is an ideal distribution. And then the video compares that to the actual distribution.

The video is rather solid and does a fairly good job at explaining its point. And those unsure about wealth inequality and how it is different from and sometimes more meaningful than income inequality should read the post along with the video.

Wealth inequality
Wealth inequality

Credit for the video goes to a YouTube user named Politizane.

Analysing Amtrak

The Brookings Institution released a report investigating the ridership of Amtrak’s various routes in an attempt to identify ways of cutting costs. They also released an interactive piece along with the report that pairs a map with a simple table.

Highlighting a route in the table highlights the route in the map and links the two together for the user. Clicking a dot on the map shows the details for the metropolitan area ridership along with the total number of stations. Lastly, because the table is sortable, the user can identify for themselves the conclusion reached by the report. To become solvent, Amtrak should divest itself of its long-haul routes that run at significant losses and focus on the profitable routes that could subsidise the popular though still minor loss-making routes.

Amtrak routes with the Northeast Regional highlighted
Amtrak routes with the Northeast Regional highlighted

Credit for the piece goes to Alec Friedhoff.

The United States Compared to the Rest of the World

Have you ever wondered how big the United States is? MAPfrappe allows you to compare different geographies in Google Maps.

My employer has an office in Chicago and an office in Santiago, Chile. How big is Chile? North-to-south it is quite large. But east to west, the distance is like that of driving from Chicago to Detroit.

The United States compared to Chile
The United States compared to Chile

Via BuzzFeed.